Relationship Property Agreement

Create a binding agreement online and take control of your future

Relationship Property Agreement

Create a binding agreement online and take control of your future

While it may not be the most romantic thing to discuss, Relationship Property Agreements, or pre-nups, are there to protect both parties. They come into play when the relationship ends and assets need to be divided fairly. Create one online today and have reassurance for the future.

→ How it works

→ Read more about relationship property

→ Frequently asked questions

→ Get Started

How it works

Purchase the agreement online

Pay only $172.50 for a comprehensive agreement you can complete yourself.

Purchase the agreement 

Complete the agreement 

You will be guided through step by step as you create your own personalised agreement.

 

Watch our video to see how easy the process is →

 

Certify the agreement

For your agreement to be enforceable, you need to get advice on its implications and have it certified by a lawyer. CODR will arrange independent lawyers to complete this process if you wish. The price will be quoted and invoiced in full prior to commencing, meaning there will be no hidden costs.

Certify the agreement 

1 Purchase the Agreement

Why pay $1,000 for an agreement made by a lawyer when for only $172.50 we will provide you with a comprehensive Relationship Property Agreement you can complete yourself.

2 Complete the Agreement

The document will guide you step by step through everything you need to cover. In our experience, it takes fewer than 30 minutes to complete, however this may vary depending on the complexity. It is in the best interests of both you and your partner to disclose all information about your property and it may also help reduce certification costs!

Watch our video to see how easy the process is 

3 Certify the Agreement

For your agreement to be enforceable, you need to get advice on its implications, and the advising CODR lawyer needs to certify they have given you this advice. This step can be done entirely online, saving you both time and money!

If you have any questions, please email us or call us on 0800 CODR 00 (0800 2637 00)

Who’s using CODR?

Juanita and Jodi were in a relationship that was getting serious. They met in 2016 and moved in together in 2017. They were thinking of getting married. Each of them wanted to keep their own assets and income that they were bringing to the relationship separate. They found CODR online and bought the relationship property agreement. They drafted it themselves (with help from the online document builder) and then used CODR to arrange for independent experts to give each of them advice. Once that had happened, each of them signed the agreement and the lawyers certified it. The agreement enabled them to be confident of how their assets will be dealt with in the event of them separating. All of that happened online and cost them about $1900 in total.

Who’s using CODR?

Juanita and Jodi were in a relationship that was getting serious. They met in 2016 and moved in together in 2017. They were thinking of getting married. Each of them wanted to keep their own assets and income that they were bringing to the relationship separate. They found CODR online and bought the relationship property agreement. They drafted it themselves (with help from the online document builder) and then used CODR to arrange for independent experts to give each of them advice. Once that had happened, each of them signed the agreement and the lawyers certified it. The agreement enabled them to be confident of how their assets will be dealt with in the event of them separating. All of that happened online and cost them about $1900 in total.

Any couple can create a relationship property agreement

Not just for new relationships, they can be entered into any time. A contracting out agreement (or “pre-nup”) sets out how a couple’s property will be divided if the parties split. It allows the parties to contract out of the rules in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the Act) that would normally decide how property is divided. The parties can decide for themselves how property will be divided if their relationship comes to an end. Today, pre-nups are increasingly common. New technology means that the parties can complete more of the process themselves without needing lawyers.

Do I need a prenup? – you’d be mad not to!

If you are considering getting married or entering a de facto relationship and you have significant assets, a pre-nup is a good idea. This is because a pre-nup sets out what will happen to property that was acquired both before and during your relationship if you separate. This can help avoid disputes arising later. Without a pre-nup, you may end up having costly legal battles. A pre-nup won’t guarantee no dispute will arise but it will help provide certainty and predictability.

I’ve been in a relationship for a while, but we are not married, can I still get a pre-nup?

Yes. Contracting out agreements can be used where the parties intend to marry, or where they are in what is called a “de facto relationship”. If you have been living together as a couple for three years or more, the rules in the Act will likely apply to you, whether you want them to or not.

What does a pre-nup consist of?

Four essential ingredients!
1. It’s a binding contract – not just a loose arrangement;
2. You need to be in a marriage, or civil union, or de facto relationship, or thinking about entering into the same;
3. The purpose of the agreement is to contract out of the provisions of the Act (otherwise they apply); and
4. It must be about property (ownership and division) including future property.

What do I need to create a valid pre-nup?

In order to ensure that a pre-nup is valid, it must meet the following requirements:
– The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties;
– Each party to the agreement must have independent legal advice before signing the agreement;
– The signature of each party must be witnessed by a lawyer; and
– The lawyer who witnesses the signature of a party must certify that, before the party signed the agreement, the lawyer explained the effect and implications of the agreement.
CODR can enable this process from start to finish and take care of all these requirements for you for a fixed fee. Once you complete the agreement (through our online process), CODR will put each party in touch with independent legal experts who will provide the necessary advice prior to signing.

If you want to find out more about how CODR can help, fill out your details here and we will contact you to discuss this further.

What does a common pre-nup include?

Generally, partners agree to divide property between them according to who initially owned or acquired that property. Such property includes liabilities (such as mortgages) as well as assets (such as homes, cars, savings, Kiwisaver, chattels and other property). Any remaining property that is not specifically dealt with in the agreement will likely be divided in accordance with the Act.

The key is to include assets that you don’t want to share if your relationship ends whilst trying to be fair. They can be short and only include the major items, or long, dealing with everything that matters.

A pre-nup will often outline that both parties acknowledge each other’s contributions and entitlements to their respective property. In doing so, the pre-nup establishes who owns the various property that is brought into the relationship, and removes the other person’s right to claim an interest in that property. It will also likely set out formulae for how property will be valued and distributed upon separation.

Given that a pre-nup is forward-looking, it may also set out what will happen if one of the parties acquires additional property in future, such as if he or she inherits a sum of money, or wins the lottery. Importantly, a pre-nup can also include arrangements for how property will be dealt with in certain future events (for example if you have children).
Ultimately, it is up to you as a couple to decide what you wish to include and to specify what will not be subject to the rules in the Act (which generally provide that relationship property, such as the family home, is divided equally).

 

What happens after a prenup is signed?

If you do use a pre-nup, it is important that it is updated regularly. CODR’s independent legal experts can work with you to ensure that your pre-nup is reviewed periodically so that it caters for any changes in your circumstances. This is important, because the Court can set aside (and refuse to give effect to) a pre-nup that is ‘seriously unjust’.

With a valid relationship agreement, you can go into and continue a relationship with a little less stress on your shoulders.

Frequently asked questions

What if my partner is based overseas?

Only one of you needs to live in New Zealand for the agreement to be binding. The jurisdiction of the Property Relationships Act 1976 relates to all property in New Zealand and “moveable” property anywhere in the world (ie not land). You can agree to divide all such property in your separation agreement and it should be enforceable by New Zealand Courts.

Can we create our own agreements without using your document?

Yes but we advise against doing that without any legal advice. The law requires:

  • The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties;
  • Each party must have independent legal advice before signing the agreement; and
  • The signature must be witnessed by that lawyer, with the lawyer certifying that he or she has explained the effect and implications of the agreement before it was signed.

In order to use our certification service online, we prefer that our agreements are used as a precedent. This is because our lawyers know and endorse our agreements. They have been considered and adapted many times. Third parties such as banks and other law firms have reviewed them.

How can I be sure that this agreement fits my situation?

If you are unsure about whether this agreement fits your situation, please contact one of CODR’s staff or enquire through our online form.

What happens if we purchase the agreement, but decide not to use your service for certification?

That is fine. It is up to you which lawyers you engage to certify your agreement. You may be able to use our agreement with another local law firm.

Do we need legal advice after we get the agreement?

Each party to the agreement must have independent legal advice before signing. The independent lawyer provided by CODR will give you that advice – he or she will explain the effect and implications of the agreement. This is mandatory under the Act (otherwise the agreement is void). Sometimes our lawyers will advise against entering into the agreement (for example because it is seriously unjust and the Court could set it aside). While the decision is yours, it is possible that the lawyer will decline to certify the agreement.

Do we need legal advice before getting the agreement?

No – but this depends on your situation. Some partners with complex assets or needs may well need legal advice (as the certification stage provides advice on the effects and implications of the agreement only).

What if my partner does not agree?

Unfortunately, this process is voluntary for couples. This means if one party does not want to sign, you may have to go to the Family Court or suggest alternative options such as mediation in relation to your relationship property dispute.

The agreement is a prompted questionnaire that partners work through. What if we make a mistake or need to go back?

That’s no issue. Any changes can be made the agreement as it will be downloadable as a Word document.

What if I don’t own a credit card. How do I get the agreement?

CODR can provide invoices or direct bank transfers. Please contact one of CODR’s staff to get this sorted and we can provide a link to the automated agreement.

How long does it take?

This will vary between couples and will depend to an extent how complex your situation is. However, generally it takes no longer than an hour to complete the agreement for most couples with a straightforward situation.

How much does the agreement cost?

It costs $172.50 ($150 plus GST). This is payable directly on our website.  You get a document which you can be confident will cover most of your issues and which has been used by many others and examined by many lawyers, banks and third parties.

What is included?

Our agreements cover the usual range of issues that should be covered in a relationship property agreement. Topics covered are relationship dates, disclosure of information, what happens to the family home, chattels, bank accounts, motor vehicles, super schemes, debts, adjustments, separate property, disclosure, independent legal advice, execution of documents, costs and witnessing/certification online.

The topics cover the issues that a standard relationship property or separation agreement should cover.

When do we need one?

Whenever you are considering entering a relationship which comes under the Act or when you are in one already. This includes marriage, civil union or de facto relationships (which have lasted or are going to last more than just a few months).

We completed the agreement! What happens next?

The next stage is certification. CODR will arrange an independent lawyer who will certify that they have explained the effect and implications of the agreement to you. They will then witness you signing the agreement. Once that is done, the agreement will be sent to your partner’s independent lawyer (organised by CODR) to do the same.

What happens after we have a certified agreement?

This depends on the purpose for which you got the agreement. For couples who have a family home or properties, this may include showing the agreement to the bank (if there’s a mortgage) or a conveyancing lawyer to change the title on the property to one party only. It may include showing your KiwiSaver Scheme Manager if you need to access or split funds.

What happens if my lawyer refuses to certify?

This is unlikely but in the event that a lawyer does not wish to certify your agreement CODR will refund you the invoice for certification less any costs already incurred in the process.

Can we get a JP or friend to witness this for the “certification” stage?

No. Under the Property Relationships Act 1976 this must be a New Zealand lawyer (either a barrister or solicitor).

Do we need legal advice before certification?

Sometimes our lawyers will not want to certify an agreement which they deem to be seriously unfair or unjust to one party and will strongly advise against it. While the decision ultimately resides with you, this may mean our lawyers request that you obtain further legal advice prior to an agreement being certified.

What if we disagree or need to change the agreement during the certification?

It often happens that one of the party’s independent lawyers will suggest edits or variations to the agreement. This should be expected as part of the advice and certification stage.

What happens if we pay for certification and decide not to go ahead with it?

CODR will refund your certification less any costs CODR has incurred. Please see CODR Terms and Conditions for more information.

We cannot afford the fee for certification. Is CODR flexible with payment?

In situations where partners are serious about getting their agreement certified but cannot pay the fee upfront, CODR may be able to consider part-payment. Please contact CODR to discuss your situation.

What documents will the lawyers need to see?

You must properly disclose to each other all relevant information about relationship and separate property. Any documents you have to show current values or titles (such as Kiwisaver accounts, House value, cars, bank accounts) should be available to show your lawyer. They will let you know any other documents they need.

How long does the certification process take?

If the agreement and your situation is simple and relationship property is divided equally, the whole process can take only a few hours. From receiving payment of your invoice, to the completion of the certification, CODR aims to take no more than two weeks (as the agreement goes to each party and their lawyer consecutively).

Where do I need to go for the certification?

Nowhere in particular! CODR provides all services completely online.

What do I need?

You will need an up to date browser (we recommend Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari), internet connection, web-cam and microphone on your device. We recommend a laptop or computer for the best visual experience but you can use your mobile phone if you have to.

How do I sign the agreement online?

CODR uses software which allows you to sign the agreement directly. This can be using your finger on a touchpad, or directly on screen if you are using a tablet device, or your mouse to draw your signature. If you have a saved signature you can also use this if you have it saved in an accessible format.

How does the process work?

Once you notify CODR you have finished your agreement [DON”T SIGN IT YET], we provide that to the independent lawyers (one for one person; another for the other).

First, one lawyer explains the effects and implications of the agreement to you and certifies they have done this before you sign. Once that is done, the lawyer sends the agreement to the other lawyer. The other lawyer explains to your partner the effects and implications of the agreement and certifies they have done so before your partner signs. It’s done.